When I was a kid and through my teenage years and early 20’s I loved skateboarding (still do). I use to say that it was a way of life. A way of life that was mine. I once got paid $500.00 by my grandmother to spend some time with my great grandmother while my grandmother went out of town. I think I was 16 at the time. I spent every last penny at Cheapskates, the local skate shop in Memphis. I bought clothes, shoes, decks, wheels, stickers, sex wax, all kinds of stuff. It’s a memory that I’ll carry with me forever. I was happy and I didn’t care what anyone else thought. Every once in awhile I will come across a senior picture I took in high school. and I’m wearing a shirt that I bought that day with my $500.00. I immediately think back to that day that I’ll never forget and smile. Those were fun days. We did whatever we wanted. We had a car, skateboards, and a very small amount of cash. Who could stop us? As long as we (sort of) told our parents where we were, we were good.
There were 3 of us, me, Phillip and Todd. Sometimes my friend Matt’s little brother Sam would tag along with us. We liked to call him “little guy” because he was younger. These were some of the coolest guys. Some of the best friends I have ever had in my life. We went to a Southern Baptist High School, and since we liked long hair, skateboards and rock music just about everyone thought we were “on drugs.” We really weren’t. The worst thing we probably did was piss off some security guard somewhere or damage some property with a skateboard. There was one time where we picked up our friend Lesley and she tossed her Doc Martins out of her upstairs window so her parents wouldn’t know she was going to change into them. Also, we probably were never where we told our parents we were. Hell, we didn’t know where we were going half the time. We just went. We would go to a spot and skate, and move on to another spot. Anyway, the point is, we were having fun. Doing only what we wanted.
I’m telling you all of this because it meant a lot to me and it still means a lot to me. I recently picked skateboarding back up at the age of 40. It had been almost 20 years since I had even stood on a skateboard. Do you have any idea how odd it is for a suburban Dad in the South to all the sudden bust out of the door with a skateboard? I do and I’m glad I did. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months from picking it back up.
Skateboarding is not easy. Life is not easy. You fall down and it hurts. You get back up and do it again. You fall down again and it hurts worse. You get back up and do it again. When you are 40 years old and you fall down, it hurts like a !@#$% but you still get back up and try again. The thing is, it’s ok. You know you’re going to fall down, but you’re doing something that you love so you’re just gonna give it another go. The important thing is that you are doing something that you love to do and that makes you happy.
Find those things that you love and do them. Don’t do anything else. If you find yourself doing something that makes you miserable, figure out how to get away from it. Do what you want to do. You CAN do it. It can be really hard sometimes, but at the very least start making note of things that you catch yourself loving. Start making note of times when you are miserable. Try to figure out how you can do more of the things you could do for hours on end and less of the things that make you unhappy. If you are in a place where you just don’t know what you like, I recommend getting a skateboard and just cruising around on it. It feels really good and will give you some time to think about what things you want to be doing….You may not always know where you are going, but just go.